Improvement in Depression is Associated with Improvement in Cognition in Late-Life Psychotic Depression

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Geriatrics | Mental and Social Health | Mental Disorders | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


OBJECTIVE: To characterize cognitive function at baseline and investigate the relationship between change in cognition, depression, and psychosis after treatment among older adults with major depressive disorder with psychotic features.

METHODS: This was a secondary analysis of a double-blind, randomized, controlled treatment trial at inpatient and outpatient settings at four academic health centers on "Young Old" (aged 60-71 years, N = 71) and "Older" (aged 72-86 years, N = 71) participants diagnosed with psychotic depression. Olanzapine plus sertraline or olanzapine plus placebo were given until week 12 or termination.

RESULTS: At baseline, Young Old and Older participants did not differ on measures of depression severity or global cognition, information processing speed, and executive function. Improvement in depressive and psychotic symptoms from baseline to treatment end was similar in both the Young Old and Older groups. However, improvement in depressive symptoms was significantly associated with improvement in global cognitive function in Young Old participants but not in Older participants.

CONCLUSION: Cognitive dysfunction was not a detriment to improvement in symptoms of psychotic major depression in our geriatric patients. Young Old and Older patients improved to a similar degree on measures of depression and delusions from baseline to treatment end. However, improvement in cognition over the course of treatment was more prominent in the Young Old group than in the Older group.


Cognition, aging, psychotic depression, treatment response

DOI of Published Version



Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2017 Feb 9. pii: S1064-7481(17)30198-7. 10.1016/j.jagp.2017.02.006. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID